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The unusually warm and dry weather across more than half of the United States has resulted in one of the worst droughts in U.S. history. Much has been made about how the crisis will affect crops and cattle, but it could also alter oil production and prices.
With nearly 64% of the contiguous United States in a drought, the highest percentage since the U.S. Drought Monitor began recording such data in 2000, the economic repercussions are searing.
To date, 2012 has already surpassed 2011's $12 billion in drought losses, and this year is on pace to rival the droughts of 1980 and 1988, which endured losses worth a current value of $56 billion and $78 billion, respectively.
According to 70 years' worth of data studied by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, weather (from heat waves to cold spells to droughts) can cause up to a 1.7% rise or fall each year in the U.S. economy's gross domestic product.
Farmers and agricultural companies have been voicing concerns, now oil and gas companies are speaking up.
With farmers trying to hold on to every ounce of water they find, oil companies don't know how they will get the water needed to drill into their oil fields.
"Water is the key to unlocking oil and gas. We take it for granted," in the U.S., said Chris Faulkner, president and chief executive officer of Breitling Oil & Gas, which has numerous operations in several of the new shale regions.